Short Break - The Charles Cotton Hotel, Hartington, Derbyshire,

Charles Cotton Hotel

Charles Cotton Hotel - Credit: not Archant

Hartington in the Derbyshire Peak District is one of those pretty ‘miles away from anywhere’ villages you dream of moving to...except that it isn’t miles away at all

Charles Cotton Hotel

Charles Cotton Hotel - Credit: not Archant

As we drove in darkness from Cheshire towards a short break at the Charles Cotton Hotel we passed through Buxton and the Derbyshire countryside lay before us.

The sat nav was playing up and just as the pitch blackness of the silent rural lanes began to seem intimidating, there it was like a welcoming beacon ahead: a handsome 17th century stone-built hotel lit by twinkling fairy lights in the centre of a dark tranquil village.

We hurried inside to the warmth of this country hostelry and immediately felt embraced by its cosy, but smart, charm.

A log fire twinkled in the traditional low-ceilinged bar/brasserie area and an airy refurbished restaurant area beckoned down the corridor. We enjoyed lovely meals in both these dining areas.

Then we were led to our beautiful room: a beamed delight with a huge king-size (emperor size?) bed with plush décor and a spacious en suite bathroom featuring a whirlpool bath.

It’s only 45 minutes’ drive from bustling Chester city centre, but the charms of Hartington are a relative secret. The village cheese shop seems to be garnering some attention, but otherwise this is a hidden gem in the heart of the Peak District. It’s the perfect location for a restful country weekend, yet it’s only a hop and skip away from our own county.

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Hartington is tiny and possesses only a pretty duck pond, a few quaint shops, two tea rooms and a couple of hostelries. But that’s all you need. It’s on the edge of some of Derbyshire’s most beautiful walking and fishing terrain, across farmland, hills and dales.

We enjoyed an easy but rain-soaked nine mile circular route from the village which gave us many stunning views to admire. What a joy it was to return to the

Charles Cotton: a warm bath and a glass of red were very much appreciated.

The hotel’s co-owner Judy Dyer is rightly proud of the stylish makeover she’s overseen here and the fine food and hospitality they offer which satisfied customers regularly comment upon.

But she’s right, it’s odd that so few Cheshire people seem to have heard of Hartington. Well, the word is out now.

Cheshire Life recommends it.

From the Charles Cotton menu

Starter: Goats’ cheese mousse with spinach meringue; game terrine with pistachio, home made piccalilli and rocket; smoked duck with blackberry puree, walnuts, crispy shallots and olive oil.

Mains: Stanedge Grange grilled ribeye steak, garnish and chipped potatoes; beer battered haddock and chips, mushy peas; Taylor’s best pork sausage, buttery mash, onion gravy and shallots.

Please note, this is just a small example, a wider menu is available and non-residents are welcome to dine.

The Charles Cotton Hotel, Market Place,

Hartington, Derbyshire, SK17 0AL.

Tel: 01298 84229

Christmas and New Year bookings being taken.

Charles Cotton (1630-1687) was a Derbyshire poet and writer, best known for his contributions to The Compleat Angler and translating the work of Michel de Montaigne from the French